Collision to give 1,000 laid-off Toronto residents free access to virtual conference

Collision from Home is launching an “employment initiative” aimed to give 1,000 people who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic free and full access to this year’s event.

“We want as many attendees as possible to make the most meaningful and long-lasting connections”

The organizers said this initiative is hoped to support city residents during the pandemic, as the event will not be physically held in Toronto this year due to COVID-19. The employment initiative is open to those who live in Toronto and have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19. Applicants must be over the age of 18 and be available to attend the event online from June 23 to 25.

“We want to give back to our host City of Toronto,” said Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of Collision from Home. “At the core of this initiative, we want as many attendees as possible to make the most meaningful and long-lasting connections with people they otherwise wouldn’t meet.”

A spokesperson for Collision told BetaKit it is setting up the initiative in partnership with Mayor John Tory and the City of Toronto, noting that the tech conference wants to “find ways to partner with and support the city even though Collision won’t be there physically this year.”

Exactly how the City is involved in the employment initiative is unclear at this point. The Collision spokesperson had yet to respond to questions about the partnership by the time of publication.

“The Collision employment initiative is one of the many ways in which organizations are stepping up and helping us support our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tory said as part of Collision’s press release on the initiative.

Those who are typically employed within, or have an interest in the business, tech, sales, education, or creative sectors, are invited to apply. For general attendance, Collision has reduced the typical price of its in-person event tickets, offering the virtual event at $99 USD for single tickets.

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For this year’s virtual conference, more than 39 hours of speakers’ talks are expected to be broadcast across a variety of channels. Speakers include Zach Perret, CEO of Plaid, Janet Bannister, managing partner at Real Ventures, and Jean-François Gagné, CEO of Element AI.

Startups, speakers, investors, partners, and attendees will also be able to access networking and content experiences through the Collision from Home app. The conference is expected to return to Toronto as a physical event from June 21 to 24, 2021, at the Enercare Centre.

“Hopefully those who join Collision from Home through the Employment Initiative will find opportunities by connecting with people who can inspire or advise them through this extremely tough economic time,” Cosgrave added.

Tickets for the employment initiative will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis to all qualifying applicants. Applications will close on May 15.

Photo by Eóin Noonan/Collision via Sportsfile

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast